Chapter 9. Layout Design

In Chapter 8, you learned to create and manage layouts and fields. Now it’s time to learn about FileMaker’s design tools. Some tools, like Themes and Styles, help you create consistency and reliable flexibility between your database’s layouts. Grids and guides help you place objects accurately. Some tools, like merge fields and merge variables, let you place data on a layout without using a field. And since buttons are the primary way users run scripts that automate data management, you’ll also learn about buttons and button bars and how they can make your users’ work easier.


To follow along in this chapter, you’ll find it helpful to download the sample databases from this book’s Missing CD page at

Layout Themes

If you’re familiar with page layout, then you’ve probably run across styles, which are stored definitions of how page layout elements (like headlines, footnotes, and body text) should look. As you create your document, you just apply one of these styles to some text, and all the formatting is applied at once. A group of styles is sometimes called a style sheet. FileMaker’s layout themes are similar to a style sheet—a theme is a set of definitions that you can apply to layout objects with a click instead of choosing multiple formatting options over and over again.

Each layout has one theme attached to it. When you create a new layout in FileMaker, the theme is automatically applied. If you’re creating a database ...

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